Brian Blade: Mercy Angel
Brian Blade (drums, piano, guitar, vocals)
Mama Rosa (Verve B0012613-02)
Brian Blade (drums, piano, guitar, vocals),
Daniel Lanois (guitar, bass), Kelly Jones (harmony vocals).
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
Brian Blade is quite possibly the most in-demand drummer in the world for jazz heavies and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall-of-Famers alike. He also leads a highly acclaimed jazz ensemble himself, The Fellowship. So it was probably quite surprising to many that Blade’s fourth album Mama Rosa presents him as a singer-songwriter of Americana and folk tunes. “Mercy Angel” is one of the stronger cuts from this album.
Lyrically, “Mercy Angel” is about finding security and everlasting compassion from a loved one. Like the rest of Mama Rosa, it’s a deeply personal, religious and spiritual song, and the melody is fetching; if you listen closely enough, you can find the same earthbound harmonics found in his Fellowship. Blade’s voice is very much what you’d expect from a singer-songwriter, not a drummer: clear, soulful, not particularly powerful, but very poignant. Jones’ harmony vocal tracks with his to perfection. Lanois’ tremolo guitar evokes the backwaters of Blade’s childhood home of Northwest Louisiana and his Gibson Firebird delivers a solo with an unfussy, pleading quality first perfected by fellow Canadian superstar Neil Young.
Songs like “Mercy Angel” put Blade in a rare class of musicians who succeeds in maintaining a high level of quality using different instruments and a completely different genre.
Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron
Tags: 2000s jazz